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Google Classroom & Distance Learning Ready

Distance Learning Writing Project

Do you need a 3+ week project to help reluctant writers share their stories?

Students need to know that they have an important message to share, mentor texts to learn from, and that someone wants to read their stories. Social Justice Writing Project provides all of that!

  • The Oklahoma author of “If you believe racism doesn't exists” earns 50% of these proceeds
  • 50% of proceeds support reThink ELA's mission to advocate for student voice
A must-have for helping students understand the lived experiences of others.
Will Blair
M.Ed Student, University of Oklahoma

About

Do you need an interactive, student-centered project that will encourage social justice activism, group collaboration, and online research and writing? Go beyond just reading dusty tomes written by dead people and regurgitating boring details. Delve into highly-engaging spoken-word poetry, music videos, TED Talks, an essay written by a 17-year-old Oklahoma author — and follow them up with highly engaging student discussions. This unit contains everything you need to guide students through reading and viewing modern literature covering social justice topics, responding to daily essential questions, planning and writing a culminating essay, video, presentation, or children's book that encourages students to tell their stories and take a stand for others.

This complete project unit includes everything you need to guide students through three weeks of research and preparing a final product. Students may choose from writing an essay, recording a video, designing a presentation or writing a children's book. The unit includes class discussion questions for the following print and non-print texts.

Mentor Texts: Print and Non-Print

Social Justice Writing Project links to the following texts and provides you with the tools you need to facilitate student discussions.

"The Danger of a Single Story"

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
(Link to video)

"If You Think Racism Doesn't Exist"

By Oklahoma author Jordan Womack 
(Full PDF text included)

"Cuz He's Black"

By Javon Johnson
(Link to video)

“Where is the love?” (2003)

by The Black Eyed Peas
(Link to video)

“Where is the love?” (2016)

By The Black Eyed Peas
(Link to video)

“To My White Friends...”

By Kiara Imani Williams
(Link to text)

September 27: I teach young men who are incarcerated. They are middle and high school students and aren't typically good students or careful writers. We started the unit two weeks ago, and we've had some amazing conversations. The boys are sharing personal stories and being much more mindful about how they interact with each other. The writing is a bit of a struggle for them but they are doing it and enjoying the opportunity to share their thoughts.

A national organization that works with students and teachers in alternative settings are sponsoring a song writing contest next month dealing with social justice as the topic of the songs. It couldn't have come at a better time. My students are combining lessons from that program and the writings and discussions from the social justice project to really get an in-depth look at the issues. Thanks so much for what you do.

Update February 24: We are currently reading a book called Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes. My reluctant writers are writing poetry every day and still including topics we discussed months ago during our Social Justice unit in their writing.  I couldn't be happier with the unit or with the chance to share our story. 
Lisa Overby
English Teacher

Daily Presentations

Social Justice Writing Project Daily Slides
Ready to upload to Google Classroom or your interactive classroom board

Social Justice Writing Project includes a complete set of slides for each day. Each set of slides includes a sequence of activities designed to engage students in reading or viewing a print or non-print text, then speaking or writing in response to it.

  • 5 minute quickwrite prompt
  • Think/pair/share activity
  • Discussion questions
  • Reading and writing activties
  • Closing reflective prompt

Teacher's Guide

Social Justice Teacher's Guide
We've already done the planning for you!

The next three weeks have already been planned for you, complete with a daily chart showing exactly what you'll do and which standards it's aligned to. Just print out the page and hand it to your principal, or keep it on your desk for easy reference. The teacher's guide includes:

  • Daily activity chart
  • Daily Common Core State Standards alignment
  • Daily Oklahoma Academic Standards for ELA alignment
  • Daily writing prompt
  • Potential discussion topics
  • Reflective writing or discussion prompts
I am happy to share my positive experiences with the Social Justice Unit during our online learning practices due to COVID-19. What really resonated with my students was that there were so many options that helped them forget about being sheltered in place and instead reminded them of the larger issues that they will have to recognize and offer solutions as part of our society.

Some of the things that my 7th and 8th grade students (as part of our Montessori practice, we have blended age groups) specifically responded to was the Javon Johnson video "Cuz He's Black." Their perspectives varied as people who had seen or been exposed to similar situations, to students who'd read books that connected to the concept of racism, as well as the students who made political connections. I was surprised at their maturity in making connections and how they felt regarding our government leadership using racial/sexual slurs and getting away with it.

The students also related to the essay by Jordan Womack, “If you think racism doesn’t exist.” I think they were shocked by the reality of Jordan’s experiences as well as the experiences of some of their classmates. My students responded with such compassion and a sense of duty to ensure that discrimination due to any factor needed to be stopped. Most of my feedback to them reminded them that they were our agents of change and that they truly are our future.

Last, but not least, the videos by Black Eyed Peas, “Where's the Love?” seemed to make them think about our society at the present time, as well as its past and the future.

I can’t say enough about how this unit brought us all together at a time when we were far apart physically. I am definitely planning on using this unit again next year.

Thank you so much for providing these materials. They are relevant today and also timeless. They provoked deeper thought from my students as well as myself. There are truly no words that can fully express the benefits my students experienced.
Susan Torrance
English Teacher in Savannah, Georgia

Writing Process Checklists & Rubrics

Writing Process Checklists and Rubrics
Do your students need help digging into the writing process?

Evaluate the early drafts of an essay or project based on the ideas, organization, and voice! Don't let your students think they can't tell a story just because they struggle with editing. Show students what you're looking for in their final projects so they can meet and exceed your expectations!

Help all your students–whether they love writing or hate it–revising their work to better communicate their messages and polishing their final pieces during the peer review and editing processes. These easy-to-fill-out forms encourage constructive criticism.

  • Revision Checklist
  • Editing Checklist
  • Revision-Focused Rubric
  • Editing-Focused Rubric

BONUS! Recommended Online Resources

Social Justice Webquest
Need additional resources to support student projects?

You'll receive a list of nonfiction articles, and a relevant graphic, video and poem. Students can refer to each of these resources in their culminating projects.

  • Multiple social justice topics
  • Nonfiction texts such as news articles and essays
  • Multimodal texts such as videos or podcasts
  • Upload to Google Classroom or other LMS
  • Webquest format with student choice built in

Are you ready for a completely done-for-you unit that engage your students in reading and writing for three solid weeks?

The Oklahoma author of “If you believe racism doesn't exists” earns 50% of these proceeds
50% of proceeds support reThink ELA's mission to advocate for student voice

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